Thread: Unwanted Gifts
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Old August 13th, 2008, 06:36 PM
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Re: Unwanted Gifts

Originally Posted by Cremebrulee View Post
Have you ever heard of emotional vampires...well, this is exactly what these people are...they suck the life right out of you...they make you do things and react to things that you wouldn't normally do...they make you become someone you are not.
I don't believe in this. When I have reacted badly to 'having my buttons pushed' even to being manipulated and directly lied to I am still fully responsible for my actions and reactions. There is no 'making me be someone I'm not'.

If I 'lose it' that is me doing that, not up to anyone 'making me'. And I have 'lost it', one incident really comes to mind. Those ugly parts of me are up to me to own and take care of as much as the 'nice' qualities.

Elaine says it very clearly. People can take only so many 'thumps'.

I needed to ditch much of what I was brought up with in order to take care of my boundaries, learn to say 'no' earlier and organize my life and time so I wasn't feeling tortured by anyone elses actions, inactions, moods and words. It has been hard and is an on going process. Blaming strangers, MIL, my mom, kids or husband wouldn't help me at all. Being as fully responsible as possible and owning that 'bad' stuff of mine is much more freeing.

Snafu- I feel like you are in a very hard position. Maintaining or starting a 'no thanks-I'm really not comfortable with gifts to me' stance seems healthy and self protective given all you've been through with them.

On the other hand it might undermine the message you've been building for your son and step daughter. (I'm thinking of the photography project of both your and your husbands and step daughters extended families. How is that going btw?)

If you couch it terms like you already have all you need that might seem ingenuine to you and your needs. If you are direct, "I'm not comfortable with gifts considering our rocky history," then you leave it to them to turn your meaning according to how mature/open/honest they are.

The only other option I can think of is the preemptive request. Come up with an activity or gift that furthers your goals for your family and specifically request those things that feel right to you. (Pictures or writing down a specific story for step daughters memory book/family tree scrapbook etc.) Ask for those things and turn down 'extras'. "No, asked for X. I wouldn't be comfortable accepting Y too, that would be too much."

With MIL we tried being very direct about what we really wanted which was literally spending time with her doing pleasant (innocuous) activities. This was low stress for us, "Let's go out and make some memories at the fair, community event (or where ever)."

Much of it didn't sit well with MIL. She couldn't be the 'hostess' if we were out, there was no way to attach 'strings' to making memories and in retrospect she didn't have the easiest time interacting outside the 'hostess' or 'I make food/give stuff and you praise me then do what I want' role.

We really didn't want 'things' though. We still have too much stuff and it was worse then. And she was upset that 'her' things were given away.

If she gives it isn't it ours then? We still have the heart-felt and useful stuff/toys. Things that were given with hefty doses of resentment/guilt tripping or that neither she nor DH, I, or the kids cared about/liked that she gave because 'she had to give something' all went to people that liked/would enjoy them or to goodwill.

Lots of moral support to you, Snafu, however you decide to handle it.

Last edited by nonnymouse; August 13th, 2008 at 06:43 PM.
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